From Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday declared that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are not eligible to field candidates to contest the vacant Anambra Central Senatorial election.
Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said during an interaction with newsmen that the electoral body would apply the same principle used in the conduct of Kogi rerun election for Anambra Central.
The current Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige vied under the platform of APC. He later took up ministerial appointment, leaving APC with no candidate for the rerun election.
He insisted that any party whose candidate was disqualified by a court could not present another candidate for a rerun election.
With this clarification, the coast appears clear for the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Chief Victor Umeh to sweep victories at the yet rerun election date.
The Supreme Court recently declined hearing on the suit filed by Senator Uche Ekwunife challenging the nullification of her election by the Appeal Court, Enugu division.
Explaining that the commission is waiting for pending cases at courts against the rerun election to be dispensed with, Yakubu said the commission would not apply different principles and laws in the Anambra Central election from what it did in Kogi.
He said: “Our hope is that very soon, we will resolve all issues and hold the Anambra Central election. “We want to apply same Kogi principle in the election.”
Meanwhile the INEC boss has disclosed that two years after the last general election, 7.8 million PVCs were yet to be collected by their owners.
He said the commission was doing everything within its power to get the PVCs distributed among their owners.
The INEC boss revealed that 87 groups have applied for registration as political parties. He did not disclose the identity of the associations nor did he state whether or not their request for registration as political parties would be considered by the commission.
He listed some innovations and reforms currently being undertaken by INEC and assured that his leadership was taking measures to ensure that 2019 election would be devoid of manipulations.
On the date of 2019 elections recently released by INEC, Yakubu said the move was in tandem with practice in other climes.